Homeless Sign Hides the Person

Should We Help the Homeless?

“Usually.”

That’s the word I heard in my head after asking myself if I should stop and help a homeless man who held a sign that read: I am hungry.

I pulled through the parking lot for a coffee at McDonald’s, and pondered the idea, knowing full well, I had gallon-sized “goodie bags” in the back seat with enough items to make a meal in just one bag.

After going through the drive-thru, sipping on my coffee, I knew I had to meet the guy, and parked the car. I stood on the curb as cars rushed by, and I handed him a bag and a scripture card. “Hi, I’m Pam.”

He put his sign down. “I know you. You’re that lady. We’ve met.”

“I know you?”

“Yes, you’re the lady who sat with me and a few others, by the library.”

Second Meetings to Remember

“I’m sorry. I don’t remember.”

“That’s okay, I’m easily forgotten.”

“No, I didn’t mean it like that.”

“I know. But it’s still true.”

“I’m sorry I forgot our first meeting, but I’m glad to meet you for the second time.”

“Thank you. My name’s John.” He glanced at the bag. “Thank you for the food, too.”

“You’re welcome. I hope to see you again.”

“If you do see me, I wonder if you’ll remember me.”

I nodded. “I will now.” I purposed to remember his face and his name, but goodness, sometimes I do forget things. So, I made him a promise I could keep. “I won’t forget your smile.”

A Smile of the Heart

He laughed. “It’s a pretty ugly smile.”

“No, it’s perfect. Just what I needed to see.”

“No worries. Thanks again.”

As I left, I wondered how many other folks on the street feel invisible. Or forgotten. And I wondered if they hide behind invisible signs of sadness, worry, or loneliness. Or loss. Or anger. Or choices.

That’s when I drove down a street, taking the wrong turn to find the right road. I saw three men picking up pecans beneath a tree at the side of a fenced yard.

And I saw their faces! It was Tony, David, and Robert! And yes, they received some scripture cards, a visit from me, and some goodie bags, too.

David said, “This is better than pecans! I love all of this stuff!” He nearly drooled on the bag, holding it in the air.

Look Beyond the Cardboard Signs

So earlier today, I hung out with four homeless friends, and the Lord reminded me ‘not’ to get caught up with ‘cardboard signs’ and to look for the heart behind the sign instead. And that’s when I asked myself, if I should help someone, and I got the same answer, “Usually.”

After all, I think it is better to help and show kindness, than to let a little piece of cardboard keep me from making a new friend! Even if it’s for the second time!

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